The luxury of the Maldives is nature. It's the hot-white sandy beaches. It's the warm sea breeze paired with chilled cocktails. It's the ombre of golden sunsets bleeding into the horizon. Tranquil. Transportive. And a thousand miles from the hustle and bustle of city life.
But, just like a good bottle of wine, it's what's inside—what lies beneath the surface beauty of a tropical island—that matters.
Introducing: The Muraka. A luxurious two-storey residence in the middle of the pristine Indian Ocean, The Muraka boasts the world's first undersea suite. That's right, under the ocean. We're talking about a fully-submerged king-sized bedroom (complete with a living area and bathroom) offering 180-degree panoramic views of the diverse coral and marine life. You can sleep with the fishes without actually sleeping with the fishes, if you know what I mean.
The undersea suite can be accessed by an elevator or a spiral staircase that connects to the above-sea living quarters—itself a force to be reckoned with—and, in what can only be described as "very James Bond", has a secret emergency escape tunnel that opens from the ceiling of the bedroom in the event of a fire blocking the staircase and elevator. Daniel Craig, eat your heart out.
Above sea level, The Muraka houses a king bedroom and bathroom (encircled with a fully-glass balcony to provide unobstructed ocean views from the bathtub); twin bedroom with connecting bathroom and powder room (for the kids or guests); integrated living room, kitchen bar and outdoor dining deck (that faces the sunset during aperitivo hour); infinity pool and relaxation pool (perfect for a spot of morning yoga); private gym with weights and cardio machines (if you really must lift something heavier than a martini glass); as well as quarters for your 24-hour on-call butler and security team.
In total, The Muraka can accommodate up to nine guests with a maximum of six adults and three children. Want to swan in and out of the Maldives undetected? Access The Muraka via the dedicated seaplane platform that is not used by any other guests coming to the resort. Spesh.
An extension of the Conrad Maldives resort, The Muraka is the brainchild of Ahmed Saleem, the director of privately-owned Maldivian company Crown Company Pvt Ltd that specialises in resort development and infrastructure, and was realised by Mike Murphy, the leading engineer at MJ Murphy Ltd; a New Zealand company with expertise in aquarium technology. But here's the real corker: The Muraka undersea suite was built here in Singapore.
An engineering feat as much as it is an extraordinary and luxurious experience, we spotlight ten interesting facts—a synopsis by numbers, if you will—about The Muraka to whet (or maybe wet?) your appetite.
1. The Muraka took two full years to complete
It was built and transported from Singapore to the Maldives via ship in three parts, and the whole process took 14 days.
2. The team behind The Muraka’s incredible ideation is the same team that conceptualised and created Ithaa—the world’s first undersea restaurant
There seems to be a pattern here. We hope the next project on their list involves an underwater theme park (YAAAAASSS!).
3. The undersea bedroom space is 192.57 square feet
With five inches thick curved acrylic in the bedroom and living space, eight inches thick straight panels in the walk-in wardrobe and bathroom, and 16 inches of thick, straight acrylic in the shower area. Worried about leaks? Chillax. The room is sealed by Shin Etsu Marine sealant; widely regarded as the best silicone sealant in the world.
4. The above-sea residence area consists of a building space of 5921 square feet, a deck and an infinity pool measuring 1455 square feet
PSA: There have been cases of dolphins spotted from the deck and pool.
5. The bottom of The Muraka is 22 feet below mean sea level
Approximately the length of a school bus submerged in the ocean.
6. The Muraka is approximately 686 metres away from the main island and 653 metres away from the closest jetty
Hate walking? Good news: you’ll be equipped with your own private speedboat and land transport throughout your stay so skip packing footwear for this trip if you have no intentions of setting foot on land.
7. Located approximately 250 metres away from The Muraka is the house reef which features 1200 marine species and 250 different coral species
Look out for the indigenous green sea turtles, puffer fishes and resident moray eel (which is, by the way, more than one metre in length) and, if you're lucky, Aquaman.
8. All materials used in the construction of The Muraka have been subjected to intensive and comprehensive pressure tests prior to installation
Fun fact: ‘MURAKA’ directly translates to ‘coral’ in the native language of Dhivehi, the language of the Maldivians.
9. The outer structure of The Muraka is made of two layers of steel with concrete to fill the gaps
The structure is then weighed down by 10 legs, all concreted into steel piles with a diameter of one metre. Yep, real sturdy. What about tropical storms and lightning? The above-sea residence is fitted with lightning protectors and the entire steel structure is electrically earthed.
10. You can watch maintenance staff—who are divers—clean the undersea unit
A pretty unique experience, if you think about it. How often does one get to witness divers cleaning an underwater residence? What kind of cleaning devices do they use? Do they clean the glasses in some synchronised choreography? Am I asking for too much?
Interested in this one-of-a-kind experience? Prices for booking out the entire The Muraka residence (including the undersea suite) ranges from USD28,000 (low season) to USD80,000 per night (peak season). To find out more information or to make a reservation, visit The Muraka booking site.